8 January 2007, Singapore - Mainboard-listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) today reported its results for the first quarter ended 30 November 2006. Profit before investment income improved 4.2% to $107.3 million from $103.0 million a year ago. Net profit rose 14.1% to $112.3 million compared to $98.4 million in the corresponding quarter last year.
The Group´s operating revenue grew 4.2% to $272.0 million. Revenue for the Newspaper and Magazine operations rose 2.6% to $241.5 million while Property segment was up 7.0% to $25.6 million.
Total operating expenses at $166.8 million was up by 3.9%. Materials, consumables and broadcasting costs were higher by 5.0% mainly driven by increased newsprint costs arising from higher consumption and increased production costs on higher circulation sales from magazine operations. Staff costs were up 2.7% mainly due to increase in headcount and annual salary increment. Total headcount as at end November 2006 was 3,562, compared to 3,471 a year ago mainly due to the launch of new editorial products and ventures into outdoor advertising and other media businesses. Depreciation charges rose 10.2% as a result of replacement of existing assets and commissioning of new editorial and other systems. Increase in other operating expenses by 3.0% was mainly attributable to operating costs associated with new business ventures and higher newspaper distribution costs.
Group investment income improved 52.4% to $29.7 million against $19.5 million last year as a result of a capital reduction exercise undertaken by an investee company, higher profit on sale of internally-managed investments and lower contribution from externally-managed investments partially offset by foreign exchange gain from forward contracts.
Commenting on the outlook for the rest of the financial year, Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH said: “The positive business climate is expected to continue providing support to the Group´s print advertisement revenue. Circulation sales are expected to remain at sustainable levels while Paragon looks set to continue to generate healthy rental yields on the back of generally bullish sentiments in the property market. The development of the exclusive freehold condominium along Thomson Road is underway and scheduled to be launched in first half of 2007. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Directors expect the recurring earnings for the current financial year to be satisfactory.”
Please click on attachments to read announcement and fact sheets for first quarter results.